Home » VirtaMove Blog » Can You Run Legacy Windows Server Applications in WS2016 Containers?

Can You Run Legacy Windows Server Applications in WS2016 Containers?

Over the last decade, we’ve seen more than one hype cycle around software containers. Clearly, both Docker Swarms and Kubernetes container technology are generating excitement and gaining followers in the Linux world. Based on recent Docker and Microsoft announcements, they also appear to hold promise on WS2016 and Azure platforms.

VirtaMove has been building containers for software applications for more than a decade. Our original software containers ran on Sun Solaris (pre-Solaris zones) and are still available. Following this, VirtaMove built Linux containers (pre-Docker). Over the last 5 years, VirtaMove has focused on delivering a solution that provides moving container technology for Windows Server application modernization.

There remains, however, one practical reality that all Windows shops must deal with. To take advantage of containers on Windows Server, you need to be running WS2016 or running on a modern Azure platform. Unfortunately, most shops are currently running legacy Windows servers on a mix of Win2K, WS2003, WS2008, and WS2012. So, what can be done with the mix of legacy business applications that run on these older Windows servers? Can they take advantage of WS2016 containers?

Extending the value and lifetime of legacy applications

The answer is Yes! At VirtaMove, we’ve been thinking about this problem since WS2016 containers were first announced. Our moving and modernization container technology for Windows offers a great way to run legacy applications in WS2016 containers. For almost two years, we’ve supported the migration of legacy applications running on an old OS to WS2016. In that time, we’ve successfully completed thousands of migrations for customers, saving these customers millions of dollars in remediation and re-platforming costs. We’ve moved applications to modern datacenter servers and onboarded apps to the Cloud. Now we can move those same applications into containers on WS2016.

We’ve also created a way to maintain those applications over time as new releases are needed. We believe this is an important breakthrough and will significantly extend the value and lifetime of legacy applications for customers.

The many benefits of VirtaMove’s Windows container support

VirtaMove’s Windows container support offers many benefits. For example:

  • A new, clean install of a legacy application inside the container without the file clutter and buildup associated with years of use.
  • Moving a legacy app to a container on a new, supported OS improves performance. 
  • New server hardware and storage means improved processing speed.
  • Migration also closes malware exposures because these exposures don’t exist on WS2016.
  • Containerization allows customers to run several close variations of applications, each dependent on unique but similar software stacks on the same server. 
  • The isolation provided by VirtaMove’s Windows container support avoids conflicts between different stacks (for example, database and driver variations).


If you’d like to learn more about how VirtaMove can help you run legacy applications on WS2016 containers or assist with any of your Windows application modernization challenges, give us a call, register for a free demo, or send us an e-mail. We’re always delighted to show you what we can do

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